Puports to be from a handwritten manuscript by Mandela; edited and presented by his political enemies
December 18, 2013
A couple of quotes that place this in context -
// During these formative stages of Umkhonto, Mandela spent two months staying in Yeoville in a small flat that belonged to Wolfie Kodesh, a journalist and ex-serviceman who worked for New Age, sleeping on a camp-bed, keeping fit with a skipping rope and reading Clausewitz, the nineteenth-century Prussian military theorist.
He stayed another month at a different suburban refuge in Norwood before accompanying Harmel to Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia on the outskirts of Johannesburg, a spacious house with outbuildings. Lilliesleaf was purchased using Party funds with the initial intention of serving as a refuge for ‘people on the run’; it swiftly became Umkhonto’s headquarters. Lilliesleaf was bought by Arthur Goldreich, an architect, SACP member, and veteran of the Israeli Irgun.
In one interview, Rusty Bernstein recalled Rivonia as a place where there was ‘time to read, think and study’.41 Certainly, Mandela kept himself busy with reflective activities for a large proportion of the time that he spent at Rivonia, consulting whatever and whoever was at hand. As he noted in his autobiography: ‘I began in the only way I knew how, by reading and talking to the experts.’42
Bernstein was the first to help, lending him a book about the Filipino Huq guerrillas, and a tract by Liu Shao Chi, How to be a Good Communist.
Among the court exhibits preserved from the Rivonia trial are Mandela’s handwritten notes, exhaustive summaries of the texts that he consulted at Lilliesleaf. They represent an eclectic mixture of authorities including Harry Miller’s Menace in Malaya, Eric Rosenthal’s biography of General de Wet, Field Marshall Montgomery’s memoirs, and, more predictably, Mao’s Strategic Problems of China’s Revolutionary War. In the case of this last text, Mandela’s notes ran to 65 pages.
He also produced a copious précis of Che Guevara’s Guerrilla Warfare. Guevara had become an iconic figure within the ANC’s left: ‘everyone was reading his book’, according to Joe Matthews.43 Mandela’s notes on Guevara’s writings include the observation that:
Acts of Sabotage are very important. They are to be distinguished from terrorism, a measure that is generally ineffective and indiscriminate in its results since it often makes victims of innocent people and destroys a large number of lives that are valuable to the revolution.44 //
Mandela: A Critical Life -- Tom Lodge: Oxford University Press 2006
And Mandela refers to this himself in his autobiography --
// // In my own case, the court had sufficient evidence for a conviction. Documents in my handwriting showed that I had left the country illegally, had arranged for military training for our men, and had been behind the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
There was also a document in my handwriting called “How to be a good Communist,” which the state suggested was proof that I was a card-carrying Communist. In fact the document’s title was taken from the work of a Chinese theoretician named Liu Shao Chi, and was written by me to prove a point to Moses Kotane. We had been engaged in a running debate about the appeal of communism to ordinary South Africans. I had long argued that Communist literature was, for the most part, dull, esoteric, and Western-centered, but ought to be simple, clear, and relevant to the African masses. Moses insisted it could not be done. To prove my point, I had taken Liu’s essay and rewritten it for an African audience. //
LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
In response to the reference by Obscurum, see the following, the tone of which is encapsulated in this excerpt --
"Why would the SACP, and the 101-year-old ANC make such a hilarious fabrication?"
December 14, 2013
Following Nelson Mandela's death, the South African Communist Party made an official statement, which included the following disclosure:
"At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party’s Central Committee. To us as South African communists, Comrade Mandela shall forever symbolise the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle."